Human Migration

Human migration is the movement of people from one place to another place, Particularly in different countries, intending to settle temporarily or permanently in the new location. It typically involves movements over long distances and from one country or region to another. It can be voluntary or involuntary.

Most voluntary migration, whether internal or external, is undertaken in search of better economic opportunities or housing. Forced migrations usually involve people who have been expelled by governments during war or other political upheavals or who have been forcibly transported as slaves or prisoners. Intermediate between these two categories is the voluntary migrations of refugees fleeing war, famine, or natural disasters.

Types of Human Migration

  • Internal migration: Moving within a state, country, or continent
  • External migration: Move to a different state, country, or continent
  • Emigration: Leaving one country to move to another
  • Immigration: Move to a new country
  • Return migration: Moving back to where you came from
  • Seasonal migration: Moving with each season or in response to labor or climate conditions

The largest migration in history was the so-called Great Atlantic Migration from Europe to North America, the first major wave of which began in the 1840s with mass movements from Ireland and Germany. In the 1880s a second and larger wave developed from eastern and southern Europe; between 1880 and 1910 some 17 million Europeans entered the United States. The total number of Europeans reaching the United States amounted to 37 million between 1820 and 1980.

Human Migration

From 1801 to 1914 about 7.5 million migrants moved from Europe to Asiatic Russia (i.e., Siberia), and between World Wars I and II about 6 million more, not counting innumerable deportees to Soviet labor camps, voluntarily migrated there. Since World War II the largest voluntary migrations have involved groups from developing countries moving to the industrialized nations. Some 13 million migrants became permanent residents of western Europe from the 1960s through the ’80s, and more than 10 million permanent immigrants were admitted legally to the United States in that same period, with illegal immigration adding several million more.

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